UTJ seeks anti-cremation amendment to burial law

MK Ya'acov Cohen (United Torah Judaism) proposed on Monday an amendment to the burial law that would effectively forbid cremation. Cohen's amendment is a response to a court case last week that pitted a Holocaust survivor's right to choose how to dispose of his body against the religious sensibilities of a distant relative. Last week, Shmuel Rosen, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor was cremated by Aley Shalechet, a funeral home that runs Israel's only crematorium after his immediate family won a Jerusalem District Court case to honor his last wish. Judge Moshe Sobol rejected the demand by a haredi woman named Miriam Freed, whose grandmother was Rosen's mother, to stop the cremation. Sobol argued, based on an Attorney General's office legal opinion, that there was no law forbidding cremation. If Cohen's amendment is approved the law will forbid cremation outright. Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) has already proposed changing the law to prohibit cremation. Orthodox Jewish law prohibits cremation because it is considered desecration of the dead.